Hats were thrown, people were swung and dance skills were tested at the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels digital press night. I haven’t danced properly in well over two years no, so the prospect of standing on a West End stage and learning moves from the show with a small audience watching was just a little bit daunting. The number of people with excuses for why they couldn’t dance or who decided to stay put in the stalls was likely a testament to the fear of making a fool of themselves on the stage of the Savoy Theatre.
We started off learning a tiny sequence from the opening number of the second act. It was just a few steps and spins, yet even that proved tricky for most of us. The lively choreography of West End shows often make the steps appear fun, easy and, dare I say it, achievable for us normal folk. It turns out even a simple couple of bars can take a lot more careful footwork than you might expect. I for one ended up spinning aimlessly with my feet hurrying to catch up with me – not exactly dancer material and I certainly won’t be signing up to audition any time soon!
Next up we tried our hand at what has the potential to be one of the smoothest moves of the night – if it’s done right. Tipping a hat off your head in one swift motion and catching it gracefully on your foot is no easy task – as both us student dancers and the cast – Robert Lindsay included – demonstrated throughout the show. There’s undoubtedly a knack to it and it’s certainly a move that takes some practice, a good amount of concentration and definitely a lot of luck to get right whilst on stage. I somehow managed to do it on my first attempt so surely that’s proof that it’s all about luck?
In fact, dropping things was almost the theme of the evening but thankfully no one fell to the ground in our final move of the session. Replicating another playful move from the show – one that sees Jolene (Lizzy Connolly) lifted by four guys (one to each limb) and swung briefly backwards and forwards – a couple of brave souls offered themselves as guinea pigs to be swung on the stage. In safe hands, they landed without a hair out of place and we took our seats to watch the cast perform everything we’d just tried our hands at – but with a heck of lot more skill and charm.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is playing at the Savoy Theatre, booking until March 2015.